GRAPHIC NOVELS

Angel Catbird: Vol. 2: To Castle Catula

Johnnie Christmas & Tamra Bonvillain (illus.). Dark Horse. Feb. 2017. 80p. ISBN 9781506701271. $14.99. FANTASY
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OrangeReviewStarLauded novelist Atwood (The Handmaid's Tale) emerges from the dystopias of her stories to pen a ridiculously amusing superhero tale. Brilliant genetic engineer Strig Feleedus yearns to impress his new boss by working out that DNA supersplicer formula he wanted, but an accident with the compound turns Strig into a human/cat/owl hybrid. However, bossman Dr. Muroid is no pureblood either and is out to rule the world. (Hint: Muroidea is a taxonomic superfamily of rodents.) Fortunately, Strig finds allies and romance among other hybrid creatures while confronting lifestyle dilemmas: should he rescue that lost baby bird, or eat it? When Muroid destroys the half-cats' nightclub, Count Catula invites them to his castle, but alas, the mad half-rat cleverly intervenes. Throughout, sidebars intersperse chatty guidelines about cat and bird safety, while puns and literary allusions abound. Christmas (Sheltered) excels especially with the jaunty and artful hybrids, and Muroid's rat army oozes comical malevolence.
VERDICT This rollicking satire contains messages about finding your own tribe, and will appeal to teens and adults of many social stripes. Note droll byplay about multispecies libidos. The concluding volume is due out in July.

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